I am lucky enough that, even though I live in a very small town which is quite a drive from any large cultural centers, there are many arts opportunities available. We have a fairly active community theater program, the high school does the normal plays and music events, there are two arts organizations that arrange performances and showings, etc. However, I tend to be lazy and not want to go to see a performance after I've spent 8 plus hours at work. So, this goal was to remind myself that I CAN see things that I'm interested in right here in town ... I just need to get out of my house and go.
The first performance was a fall community theater production of The Church Basement Ladies. My friend Sarah was playing the role of Karin Engleson, so I had extra incentive to go see this one. I had read the book that it was based on several years ago and grew up in an extremely active Lutheran family, so I got all of the in-jokes in the script. It was a fun show - made more special by seeing it performed by people I know.
The second event was a dance performance by the local ballet program. Dance is not my favorite performing art, but this particular group has lessons in the building where I work. It was very interesting to see the choreography that went along with the music that I had been hearing for weeks. In many cases, the actual dances were very different than what I had envisioned.
The next performance was the local high school's fall musical. They chose Honk! - which is the story of the ugly duckling. I realized as I was watching that the seniors involved had been preschoolers when I moved to town ... that made me feel a little old. :) One of my favorite bits of stage dressing included remote-controlled fish balloons for the underwater scenes!
Another community theater performance I saw was The Drowsy Chaperone. This musical is one that especially speaks to regular attender of musicals - many in jokes in the frame story. Again, it was fun to watch the people I know on the stage - including several who haven't been on stage for a few years. I think that my friend Peter was probably the most perfect choice of casting for the narrator of the frame story possible as he is the mainstay of the theater community here.
The last performance was one that came to town rather than a local production. I have the good fortune to see the Rose Ensemble last Monday. This group from the Twin Cities is simply stunning - the last time that I heard vocal pieces that perfectly performed was at the Sydney Opera House on my visit to Australia. I also enjoyed the guest artist who was traveling with them performing on period instruments. I had never seen a shawm before though I immediately recognized the sound from several CDs of early music that I own; it was wonderful to put a visual with the instrument's voice.
I am telling myself that I need to do "after-work" performances more often and even have plans for next week to do just that ...